Saturday, May 24, 2014

A brief review of "X-Men: Days of Future Past" (the movie)

Just saw the new "X-Men" movie directed by Brian SInger, and I left the theater with a smile on my face. There is a lot to like about this movie, beginning with the fact that it reboots the continuity of the "X-Men" films in such a way as to obliterate the missteps of the past, starting with the second "X-Men" movie. I'm curious to see where the franchise goes now.

It's not a perfect movie, and it has at least two giant, gaping logic holes that occurred to me as I was watching it -- one more of a important detail which was overlooked, the other more daunting because the entire plot of the movie depends on your uncritical acceptance of this concept.

I am going to avoid revealing these "spoilers"  here, for those who don't want to know these things, by putting them in what has been referred to on various websites as "Invisitext" -- basically, text in white which does not show up unless selected.

Part of the plot -- and a part which directly leads to perhaps the most delightful and imaginative sequence in the movie (newly-introduced super-fast mutant Quicksilver's handling of some trigger-happy guards) -- involves supervillain Magneto being held in a metal-free prison deep beneath the Pentagon. It is specifically stated that one of the reasons -- besides all of the plastic, wood and other non-metal building materials used to construct this area -- it is also made of concrete.

Well, as we all know, and as we are gruesomely reminded later on in the film in one of the most brutal scenes, concrete in modern buildings isn't just concrete -- it is also rebar, the steel reinforcing rods around which concrete is poured to make it stronger. GIven that the Pentagon was constructed long before anyone knew about Magneto, it seems likely -- highly likely -- that its concrete parts would have been made with integrated steel rebar. If so, Magneto could have used these at any time to break out of his prison.

The second thing -- and this one is a much bigger problem -- is the idea that Bolivar Trask's robot Sentinels are enhanced by the use of Mystique's shape-shifting abilities through some sort of manipulation of her DNA. This nonsensical idea reminded me of some of the light-on-the-science science fiction concepts from the early days of the computer age, when a "computer virus" might lead to some humans catching that virus.
Really quite ridiculous -- I mean, think about it for a moment. How do you change the abilities of an inorganic robot by mixing in some organic DNA? It makes no sense. And yet if you don't buy this idea, the whole movie pretty much falls apart.
It's unfortunate that they went in this direction, because the use of this goofy idea isn't even necessary. The Sentinels could have easily been made as threatening and as overwhelming a force without becoming, essentially, mutants.
Hey -- that just made me realize ANOTHER huge lapse of logic: If the Sentinels have become, as I just mentioned, for all intents and purposes mutants because of the infusion into their being of Mystique's mutant DNA, why don't they all turn on each other? Isn't their whole reason for being to locate, hunt down and destroy mutants? I guess that would have shortened the movie considerably.

There are probably a few more problems of this nature which will become clear on repeated viewings. 

I do plan to see it again -- even with the aforementioned issues, it was a fun movie to watch. And the cast did a great job with the material given to them. -- PL